Who knew there was such a variety of hemp hats? I certainly didn’t until I was doing my research for this post. But it makes sense, as hemp is one of the most versatile natural materials available when it comes to the diversity of products it can be used for, from food to body lotion, shoes, and more.
You’ll find a lot of hemp products on UniGuide because it’s such a superstar sustainable material. It can be grown easily without using pesticides, insecticides, or fungicides. Naturally antimicrobial, hemp is a great fiber to be used in hats, shoes, clothing, and even underwear because it’s breathable and it doesn’t hold on to odors. Another perk: it’s naturally resistant to ultraviolet light, which means it doesn’t fade easily, and it will protect your skin from UV rays. And one last thing about this miracle fiber: like your favorite pair jeans, hemp fabric gets softer with age.
So, without further ado, here are some awesome hemp hats.
Angelique Ell, founder of A. Ell Designs, creates ethical and eco-friendly clothing and accessories in her workshops in beautiful Kapaa, Hawaii and Portland, Oregon. Her creations are all made with natural fibers, such as hemp, bamboo, Tencel, and organic cotton.
This cool newsboy hat is made with a hemp-cotton blend, and it’s reversible, so you get two hats in one.
Each hat is custom made, so you get your choice of colors combinations in black, ivory, natural, brown, red, or olive green.
Another great hemp hat from A. Ell Designs, this engineer’s cap is also handmade. The fabric is a blend of hemp and other natural fibers. A. Ell’s hats are made with scraps from their other creations, which helps cut down on textile waste in our landfills. This hat is also reversible, so you get two hats in one.
Available colors: black, ivory, tan, brown, red, olive green, and purple
In 1980, Alex Tilley, an avid sailor, couldn’t find the perfect sailing hat, so he made his own. From that first hat, Tilley Hats was born. Today, Tilley makes a variety of styles of hats, all designed for different types of activities. All of Tilley’s hats are guaranteed for life.
This classic engineer’s hat is made with hemp and it’s lightweight and packable, making it the perfect travel hat.
When none other than a trucker hat will do, there’s this cool trucker’s cap with a breathable hemp front panel by Mato. It has a mesh back and an adjustable back strap. Mato makes a variety of accessories with eco-friendly hemp.
This classic baseball-style hat is made with 100% hemp canvas. It’s biodegradable and naturally UV ray resistant. It has an adjustable snap-back closure. Hempzoo creates a variety of cool clothing and accessories with Earth-friendly hemp.
Do I have any Bigfoot fans in the audience? I know I’m one! I even have a park ranger friend who swears he saw one once. He did an impersonation for me of the way Bigfoot ran away into the trees… How could I not be a believer? This hemp Bigfoot hat is a great way to signal to other believers out there. Get one while supplies last!
Made with 100% hemp canvas, this classic explorer’s hat is made in the USA. It’s got a wide brim and a roomy crown, plus brass ventilation eyelets and an adjustable strap, making it comfortable to wear throughout your daily adventures.
Available colors: natural, navy blue, brown, and pale green
This ladies’ Panama-style hemp hat is also rated for UPF 50+ sun protection. Perfect for all kinds of adventures, it repels rain and has a tie to keep it on in convertible rides or windy days at the beach. Plus, it floats, making it perfect for island hopping, boating adventures, or lounging by the pool. The brim is 3” on the front and sides and 2.75” in the back. It’s made with 100% hemp fabric, and it’s machine-washable.
For a little extra flair, check out this 100% hemp sun hat. It’s easily packable and protects your head and face from harmful UV rays. It’s perfect for the beach, traveling, horseback riding, gardening, al fresco dining, lounging by the pool, and more. The brim measures 4.5” and an internal drawstring enables the perfect fit.
Ultra-stylish, this hemp hat is handmade in the USA and comes with a ruffle rosette and a cotton band. It’s perfect accessory to top off a summer outfit and to wear on sunny days at the beach, wine tasting, or bopping around town.
A classic chapeau, this brimmed hat by Tilley is made in Canada with 100% hemp. As with all Tilley hats, it comes with a lifetime guarantee and is insured against loss. It repels the rain and is certified for UPF 50 sun protection. Plus, it comes with a cute, tuck-away chin strap, making it perfect for convertible rides and windy strolls.
For some classic boho flair, you can’t go wrong with this cute bucket hat by Hemp4Life. It’s made with a hemp-cotton blend yarn. Based in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, Hemp4Life creates handmade hats and other accessories with organic, sustainable hemp. I featured some of their crochet beanie hats, for men and women, here on UniGuide.
Here’s another cute hemp hat from Hemp4Life. It’s the perfect travel hat, as it packs easily but will retain its shape. Plus, it offers a bit of sun protection with its short brim. This hat also comes in orange and natural.
This might possibly be the most perfect hemp hat. It’s handmade with 100% hemp from the Himalayas. The rainbow rings can only mean whoever wears this hat will be filled with joy and will bring smiles to other people’s faces.
Founded in 1865 by John B. Stetson, Stetson Hats is most famous for being the creator the cowboy hat. But you don’t have to be a cowboy or a cowgirl to wear a Stetson. In this case, you just have to be willing to wear some superbly crafted hemp straw on your head.
Whether it’s still cold where you live or the sun is starting to warm your skin, these cute beanie hats are the perfect accessory to top of any casual look. There are cute slouchies, made with hemp and other natural materials like linen and organic cotton, plus soft, warm knit ski hats made with recycled plastic and more.
As usual on UniGuide, all of the hats featured in this post are vegan, so no wool or cashmere found here. But that doesn’t mean these caps aren’t soft and comfy enough to wear all day.
While the styles here are mostly for gals, far be it from me to gender stereotype. Welcome, Gentleman! Or, you can see more styles in my post about cool beanies for guys.
Based in Osaka, Japan, Charm is a family-run business that hand makes a variety of cute and casual hats for women and men. This style is made with 100% organic cotton, so it will be comfortable against your skin, with no itching. It has a subtly brim to protect your face from the sun. Plus, it’s reversible, so you get two hats in one.
This cute, lightweight slouchy is also handmade by Charm in Japan. It’s 100% linen, so it’s lightweight and breathable, plus it’s comfortable enough to wear in warm weather and will protect your head from the sun. Like hemp and denim, linen gets softer with age and the more you wear it.
SoulRole designs and hand makes ethical clothing in their workshop on the beautiful Hamakua Coast in Laupahoehoe, Hawaii. All of their designs use organic and eco-friendly fabrics. You can see some of their eco-friendly hoodies here on UniGuide. And be sure to check out more of their sublime styles in their Etsy store.
This cute red hat is handmade with organic cotton and soy-based Spandex.
Bring out your inner Smurf in this super slouchy organic cotton beanie by SoulRole. The fabric is luxuriously soft, with enough stretch to keep it comfortably on your head as you dance, fun around town, or engage in other fun activities.
This cute knit cap is made with a soft, organic cotton and recycled polyester blend fabric. And it’s got a gold guitar emblazoned on the front that’s printed with a non-toxic, water-based ink. This cute knit hat is hand made in the USA in the beautiful state of Florida.
Based in Russia, Hemp4Life hand makes make a variety of comfortable, stylish clothes with eco-friendly hemp. The company’s founders, Alena and Sergey, says they are evangelists for the powerful properties of hemp as a sustainable material. And when you wear this cute hat, you will be too!
This cute slouchy is handmade with hemp and cotton knit, and it will get softer with age. It will keep your head warm in winter and cool in summer. Hemp is naturally resistant to ultraviolet light, which means the colors in the cap won’t fade easily, and the hat will protect your head form harmful UV rays. Be sure to visit Hemp4Life’s Etsy shop to see more of their unique designs.
Another cute hat from Hemp4Life, this style is not quite a beanie, but I thought it deserved to be in this post. It’s handmade with a hemp-cotton blend that will get softer with age. Hemp is a naturally breathable material, plus it serves as a natural protector from the sun, as hemp fiber absorbs up to 90% of UV radiation.
If you’re a big fan of texture, you’ll love these chunky knit hats by Forever Andrea. There are a variety of styles and colors made with soft, vegan, non-wool acrylic yarn. Each hat is one-of-a-kind and made to order.
This cute hat is warm enough to wear snowboarding or for any chilly evening. It’s made with Polartec Thermal Pro, which is a soft fleece that’s made with recycled fibers. It’s also breathable, so comfortable to wear for any of your cold weather activities.
Available colors: neon green, hot pink, purple, dark purple, or black
This cute pom pom cap is from United by Blue, a socially-conscious, mission-driven company that removes one pound of trash from the world’s oceans and waterways with every product they sell. A cute hat and a great cause – what a great way to top off your look! This cuffed beanie hat is made with 100% recycled polyester.
Another classic knit hat from United by Blue, this cap is also made with 100% recycled polyester. Your purchase will help to remove one pound of trash from the world’s oceans, riverways, and lakes. Now this is a beanie you can wear with pride!
This colorful cap is made with recycled cotton yarn, plus a little bit of polyester and Lycra for soft stretch. Solmate is most known for their colorful, recycled cotton socks. You can check those out in the Amazon shop.
For a little extra styling on your beanie, check out this brimmed cap from Folie Co. It’s made with 100% acrylic. The visor brim measures 2.5”, giving you some extra protection from the cold wind and sun.
Available colors: charcoal, black, red, teal blue, rose
In these political times, every gal should own at least one pussy hat. This cute style takes a colorful spin on the classic all pink hat. It’s made with vegan-friendly yarn. Check out more cute pussy hats on Etsy. (Though for my vegan friends, please read the products details, as many are made with wool.)
Since the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter launched in April 28, 2009, independent backers have pledged a whopping $4.1 billion to tens of thousands of new projects, from a drone camera that will record an aerial video of your mountain biking excursions to an illustrated book about egrets and climate change.
And now the platform is taking things both back a step and forward a step by asking creators to consider the environmental impacts of the entire life cycle of their creations.
Teaming up with the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps, Kickstarter is developing an information hub for project creators, plus they’ll provide space on project profiles where creators can commit to environmental practices.
So, instead of creating products and then dealing with the environmental consequences later, project creators can build environmental commitments into their projects at the outset in key areas:
Environmentally-friendly mass production
And sustainable fulfillment and distribution
The new profile features will enable potential backers of a project to consider a creator’s commitment to environmental sustainability before they decide to back them.
“Project creators check boxes to indicate their product will have a long-lasting design, consist of recycled products, will be manufactured in environmentally friendly factories, use sustainable distribution channels and so on,” said Daniel Hill, a project manager with EDF’s Climate Corps. “It’s all with the goal of reducing their project’s impact on the planet and to, in Kickstarter’s words, ‘stand out to potential backers.’”
“We think the rapidly growing platform is uniquely positioned to become a real and lasting force in the development of environmentally sustainable design and manufacturing processes worldwide – and that means it would also have an impact on far-flung supply chains,” Hill added.
The global retail market is a $31 trillion industry. So, the push by a well-known, global platform that’s a trailblazer for new product development promises to shed a needed spotlight on how products are designed, built, distributed, and disposed of.
Kickstarter is a public benefit corporation, which means it has corporate goals that extend beyond simply maximizing shareholders’ returns to benefitting the general public at large.
“These new features are our biggest step yet toward fulfilling that commitment,” said Perry Chen, Kickstarter’s chairman and CEO.
Whether you need a little motivation to save up for your next vacation or to get swimsuit-ready – or, heck, even if you need to be reminded that you deserve a vacation, here are some spectacular photos of sunny beaches and other tropical paradises to help you envision your next getaway. Be sure to follow these Instagrammers to see more of their photos!
Today is Edward Abbey’s birthday. For those of you who haven’t read any of his books, he is probably most known for The Monkey Wrench Gang, which was published in 1975.
The Monkey Wrench Gang centers around the wilderness of the American West and four main characters who resort to extreme measures (including destroying construction sites and heavy equipment) to protect the wilderness from industrial development. It’s an engaging and fun read about a serious topic and it played a role in shaping the modern day environmental movement. I’ve heard it’s going to be made into a movie, and all I can hope is they do it justice (which may be impossible).
I read The Monkey Wrench Gang when I was an environmental studies major in college. At that time, there was a lot of controversy over the logging of old growth forests in northern California. Trees that had been alive since Christopher Columbus came to America, and even earlier – during the Roman Empire – were being cut down for timber. Today, there is only 5% of the old growth redwood forests left.
During Redwood Summer, which is what the collective anti-logging activities were referred to, I drove some friends and fellow activists in my old Ford Econoline van from San Francisco to northern California to join the protests.
Because I had a van full of people, it seemed perfectly normal to pick up hitchhikers along Highway 101.
The first hitchhiker we picked up was a lady in a long gray robe. Her gray hair was pulled back in a long braid and she introduced herself simply as Ellen. She explained with a serious yet serene face that she was coming from a three-month retreat where she had taken a vow of silence for the duration. Other than her introduction and telling us where she was headed, Ellen remained quiet, sitting on a pillow in the back of the van, listening to the rest of us talk about trees, music, and various traveling adventures.
The next hitchhiker we picked up was a big guy with a beard in jeans and a flannel shirt opened over a t-shirt.
His name was Bob and he was headed to Eureka.
“Where are you guys headed?” he asked.
‘We’re headed up to Arcata then back down to Fort Bragg for the logging protests,’ I said. ‘What do you do in Eureka?’
Out of my rearview mirror, I saw Bob’s eyes move from left then right, as if noticing for the first time that he was in the back of a van with two dogs, a Buddhist nun, and a bunch of hippies, one of whom was wearing a tie dyed t-shirt with “Hayduke Lives” printed in faded black letters across the front. (This was in honor of George Hayduke, the main character in The Monkey Wrench Gang.)
“I’m a logger,” Bob said. “Guess you better let me out.”
My friend Scott, the one in the tie dyed t-shirt, said, “Hey, hold on a sec! Let’s have a dialogue.”
“Pull over,” Bob said. “Let me out.”
“Come on, man. We’re not against you,” Scott said.
“Let me out of this damn van.”
I pulled over and Bob opened the sliding door and jumped out. He then shouted, “Get a job!” as he slammed the door shut.
Quiet Ellen burst out laughing. “Oh my,” she said. “Oh. My. That was something. That was something.”
It upset me that we didn’t get the chance to make friends with Bob. I also wanted to tell Bob that I did have a job.
I canvassed for Greenpeace.
Going Door-to-Door, Raising Money for Greenpeace
I met some interesting people when I went door-to-door, asking them for money. Aside from the rare creep, like the guy who answered the door in nothing but an open Hugh Hefner robe and invited me in to “talk about nature,” most people were congenial and generous.
We would canvass in the late afternoon and evening because more people were home, and so we’d often start the day in a neighborhood park, where we’d eat lunch and discuss the environmental issues we’d be covering in the field that day.
One hot summer day in Pleasanton, California, an upper middle class neighborhood 40 miles east of San Francisco, we stopped at a community park that had a giant fountain. The park was full of elderly people, moms, nannies, and kids.
Our team sat at a picnic table, discussing the day’s topics, when my friend Scott abruptly stood up and remarked, “It’s too damn hot.” (Yep, the same Scott who had wanted to dialogue with the lumberjack in my van.) Scott then walked over to the fountain, took off all of his clothes, dropped them into a heap, and waded buck naked into the fountain, and then laid on his back.
The citizens of Pleasanton stopped and stared as if a UFO had just landed.
With the rest of us giggling, our beleaguered team leader, Jeff, walked over and told Scott to put on his clothes. To us, Scott was just being Scott. For the residents of Pleasanton, he might as well have been a creepy guy in an open Hugh Hefner robe flashing everyone.
A Chemical Spill in the Sacramento River and a Narrow Escape
On another canvassing trip, this time to Sacramento, our main topic of discussion was a tanker train that had derailed, spilling 19,000 gallons of the chemical fumigant metam sodium into the Sacramento River. (Metam sodium is used primarily in agriculture to kill soil fungi, insects, and nematodes before planting.) The spill killed fish, among other things, and even made workers removing the dead fish ill.
At one door, I rang the bell and a lady in a house dress, smoking a cigarette, sauntered up to the closed screen door.
I introduced myself. ‘Hi, my name is Kristen and I’m from Greenpeace. We’re in your community today to raise awareness about issues impacting our planet. Do you know about the recent chemical spill in the Sacramento River?’
“I ain’t heard nothin’,” she said, as she continued smoking inside her screen door.
‘Well, unfortunately, it did happen,’ I said. ‘It caused a lot of destruction, poisoning the river and killing fish.’
“I ain’t heard nothin’,” she repeated.
‘Well, it’s true. Here’s an article in the paper about it,’ I said, as I pulled a Xeroxed sheet of paper from my clipboard to hand to her.
She still didn’t open her screen door.
“You don’t listen too well,” she said, “I told you I ain’t heard nothin’.”
All of my cool hippie chick aplomb crumbled away and, unable to control the heat rising in my head, I said, ‘Well, if people like you didn’t sit on your asses in oblivion all day, maybe we could change some things!’
At that, cigarette lady opened her eyes into large saucers, then squinted them back down again and took a drag off her cigarette. She exhaled in my face through the screen door and yelled, “Get off my propaty!”
‘Yeah, well, fuck you!’ I said.
That’s when she opened her screen door, and brandishing her cigarette like a weapon, she shrieked, “I said get off my propaty!!”
By then, I was halfway across her lawn. I saw my friend Dave, who was canvassing on the other side of the street, turn around, mouth agape, as I ran down the street. I only slowed down long enough to look back and see that cigarette lady had stopped short at the end of her front lawn, like a snarling junkyard dog halting at a chain link fence.
Happy Birthday, Edward Abbey
Thanks for inspiring me take a stand for what I believe in.
Stories of personal health transformations fascinate me because we live in a society that’s full of unhealthy, addictive temptations. Let’s face it – our whole economy is based around “wanting” – the creation of desire in human beings so we react and buy. Needless to say, this has gotten us into a lot trouble when it comes to food and eating. We all know about the obesity epidemic. And lifestyle-related health care costs are sky rocketing. Undoubtedly, the basis of this problem is the amount of addicting food products that permeate our culture.
As a person who struggles with food addictions, this is a subject I have thought about extensively. I am not an eat-a-few-corn-chips kind of gal. I am an eat-one-corn-chip-devour-the-whole-bag kind of gal. Thus, it’s best that I simply avoid corn chips altogether. I can’t go cold turkey from food, but I can go cold turkey from corn chips, and that works for me. To a person who doesn’t struggle with food addictions, this might seem trivial. But to the food and other self-acknowledged addicts among us – I’m sure you can relate! This is why I feel indebted to the people who share their own stories about overcoming addiction and other personal challenges. They make us realize we are not alone, and that if they can do it, we can too.
You can click these jump links if you want to skip more of my intro!
The Problem with Food Products, Which Are Not Food
We have a problem with addicting foods in our culture. In order to be competitive and economically viable, food product companies have gone to great lengths to ensure there’s a high degree of repeat wanting for their products. At the same time, as businesses, they have pressure to keep costs down while creating products that have a long shelf life. Factory farming, preservatives, and added sugar, salt, and hydrogenated fats are just some of the unhealthy byproducts of those economic drivers. The more addicting a food product is, the better it sells. And the lower the cost to produce it and keep it on the shelf, the more money the food product company makes. The result is fake food – products that barely resemble the whole foods that nature has been perfecting for eons.
Capitalism Gone Awry
I call this capitalism gone awry. It’s when business people, scientists, and technologists get too micro-focused on one metric – how much money can be made, while losing site of the broader ramifications of what they’re creating. I think one of the best aspects of the modern world is that we have easy access to information that gives us the bigger picture, if we care to look. We may not be growing our own food in our gardens, but at least we can get the background story on our food – where it comes from, what’s in it, what impact it’s having on our bodies, as well as on other people and animals. Finally, the medical establishment is starting to catch up, and we’re seeing more studies on the role that whole foods play in our overall health, well-being, and longevity.
Miraculous Transformations from Everyday People
In addition to scientific studies, one of the most vital ways that we’re getting the bigger picture on how whole foods make us feel is when people share their personal stories. The people profiled here overcame additions and other lifestyle-related challenges that held them back from realizing their full potential. At once, they are extraordinary. At the same time, they’re just normal people like you and me.
They make me think about Roger Bannister, who was the first person on record to run a sub-four-minute mile. He showed us that, yes, it’s humanly possible. And after he showed us, more and more people went on to run sub-four-minute miles. Today, it’s become a standard of athletic performance vs. an anomaly. Every person who overcomes a challenge like an addiction is a Roger Bannister in my book. They help us to set a higher standard for a more vibrant way of being. Without further ado, here are:
In this video by the media company The Good Life Project, which focuses on helping people live more enriched lives, founder Jonathan Fields has a very candid conversation with Rich Roll. Rich talks about being a recovered addict and the positive influence that his wife Julie has had on his life. He also talks about how important it is to seize moments of clarity that can serve as a catalyst to help us change our lives for the better.
Rich Roll’s book Finding Ultra is a must-read for anyone who needs that extra push to go all out vegan, and not to mention – get in great shape. This book had a huge impact on me. I had been a vegetarian for over 30 years, flirting with veganism, but never being able to remain consistently vegan. (I had a hard time giving up cheese!) Finding Ultra was one of those catalysts that turned me into a committed vegan. This means more than my saying, ‘Oh, that Rich Roll guy got me to give up cheese!’ I can truly say that this book is aptly named because it helped me to discover more of who I ultimately knew myself to be.
Hannah McNeely shares a very candid story about her path to becoming not just vegan, but a healthy, fit, and vibrant vegan. This video is super helpful for those of us who can be roller coaster eaters – erratic eaters who have trouble maintaining consistently healthy eating habits
You’ve probably heard about the glow you get from eating a vegan diet that’s full of fruits and vegetables. In this video by Alicia Grant of Raw Synergy, she shares her personal story about suffering from acne and then discovering the key to having healthy, radiant skin.
With more men embracing a vegan lifestyle than ever before, it’s great to have as many male role models as possible helping them along the path. But whether you’re male or female, you’ll be sure to find some inspiration by checking out this video and others by the Light Twins.
Lissa of Raw Food Romance changed her body and her life by adopting a raw food vegan diet. For outsiders, a raw vegan diet might seem extreme. But when you listen to Lissa speak in her sincere and no nonsense way, you’ll be convinced that the standard American junk food diet is the real extreme, and raw food vegan should be the norm.
Kristina Carrillo-Bucaram infuses positive vibes, authenticity, and sheer vibrancy into everything she does. Quite simply, we need more people like her. Whenever I watch her videos, I want to immediately start taking better care of myself and eat more fruits and vegetables!
A certified nutritionist, Derek of Simnett Nutrition is all about being a super strong and fit vegan. Some people want to lose weight when they go on a vegan diet; others want to build muscle mass. Derek shows you how to get it done.
Elle Tayla’s story is hard to watch on YouTube, as she struggled on and off with anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder. With the support of family and friends, good old self-reliance, and discovering a high-carb, low-fat vegan diet, she found her way back the health.
Sarah Nourse and her husband went vegan after hearing activist Gary Yourofsky speak. With humility and generosity, Sarah shares her story about how in just six months, she and her husband lost weight and changed their lives for the better by embracing a vegan lifestyle.
A recovered diabetic, The Urban Black Vegan was inspired to change his life after watching the groundbreaking movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead. He’s on a mission to help people in his own community and beyond fight lifestyle-related chronic diseases and to get on the path to health.
Vegan advocates Plant Based News also shared a great series of vegan before and after transformations that you must check out! (A couple of then are also above, so I didn’t double count them! :o)
Be sure to subscribe to the YouTube channels of these inspirational heroes, and best of luck on your own journey to health and vitality!
(As with much of the content you find on the Web today, take these videos as anecdotal, personal stories and consult with a medical professional if you have questions about making major dietary changes!)
Here are some cool beanies for men in an assortment of materials that also happen to vegan. I found a number of great styles made from fabric blends that will keep your head warm in the winter (without using itchy wool) or cool in the summer and protected from the sun.
The best beanies for men look great while being made with eco-friendly materials, like hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. So, whether you’re looking for a slouchy hat, a fitted skully, or a longshoreman-style knit cap, you’ll find some great options here.
This cool, heather gray beanie has a gold guitar emblazoned on the front. It’s made with an organic cotton and recycled polyester blend fabric. The guitar is printed with a non-toxic, water-based ink. It’s made in the USA in Florida.
A truly unique slouchy hat, this colorful beanie is handmade with a hemp and cotton knit that gets softer with age. It will keep your head warm in winter and cool in summer. Plus, hemp is highly resistant to ultraviolet light, which means it won’t fade easily in sunlight and will protect your head form harmful rays.
Based in Russia, Hemp4Life’s founders Alena and Sergey are evangelists for the powerful properties of hemp as a sustainable material, which can be used to make a wide variety of comfortable, stylish clothes. Be sure to visit Hemp4Life’s Etsy shop to see more of their designs.
Lightweight enough to wear in summer, this open knit slouchy cap is handmade with 100% hemp yarn. Hemp is highly resistant to ultraviolet light, which makes it ideal for protecting your head from the sun.
Available colors: black, dark gray, light gray, and beige
If you’re looking for a brimmed beanie made with vegan-friendly materials, check out this 100% acrylic style by Folie Co. The visor brim measures 2.5”, providing extra protection from the cold, wind, and sun.
Available colors: charcoal, black, red, teal blue, rose
Is there hope for those of use who dwell in the concrete jungle or simply crave a little more green? Yes! One answer is to plant a vertical garden – either indoors, outdoors, or both. Below are some images of spectacular vertical gardens around the world. Then, you’ll find some resources on how to grow your own. Be sure to follow the innovative Instagrammers and YouTubers featured in this post who are making the world a more beautiful and greener place!
Outdoor Vertical Gardens
1. Outdoor Vertical Garden at the CaixaForum Art Gallery in Madrid, Spain
2. Vertical Garden at Palacio Europa in Basque Country, Spain
3. The Ecological Solar House on Saint Helen’s Island, Montreal, Canada
4. The Cloud Forest Dome in Gardens by the Bay, Singapore
5. Green Walls and Roofs, Cité des Étoiles in Givors, France
Have you ever wondered, “Are condoms vegan?” Well, the answer is – it depends. The main ingredient that makes some condoms not vegan is casein, which is the key protein found in milk. Casein is commonly used in the production of latex (which many condoms are made of) to give it a smooth texture. The good news is, today, there are a few options for condoms that are not made with casein (and are still smooth), which I’ll provide details for below. But first…
A Few Words About Your Safety
I’m all for taking risks. That is, not stupid ones. And when it comes to your health, please don’t take any stupid risks. You come into this world with one body. You don’t get a spare. It’s the only one you’ve got – this body that will automatically do everything it can to get you through life. Your body is hardwired to heal, to keep you safe, to keep you strong – if you just take care of it. Your body keeps on going, even when you think mean things about it, like you don’t like parts of it. It puts up with all of your negative thoughts, and it keeps performing to the best of its abilities. Please take care of your body, and this means practicing safe sex.
Anyone who might expect you to take risks with your health is not someone you should be hanging out with anyway, especially having sex with. Anyone who would ask you to not practice safe sex is someone you should avoid. That is a selfish and foolish person. Don’t waste your time on selfish and foolish people. Especially because there are so many cool and wonderful people in the world who are for more deserving of your precious time and energy.
Ok. There’s my lecture for the day. Now, on to the vegan rubbers!
What are condoms made of?
Traditionally, condoms were made from the intestinal membranes of lambs (not vegan!) This dates back to the start of the Roman Empire (753 BC.) It’s important to note that lamb “skin” condoms do not protect you from STDs, including HIV. Also, no big surprise here, lambskin condoms supposedly smell gross.
What’s in latex condoms?
Another common material used for condoms is latex, which originally comes from natural rubber trees. Modern latex is made with some synthetic processes, so it’s more rubber-like than what you’d consider to be 100% natural rubber, like the natural rubber used in some of the flip flops and vegan shoes I present on UniGuide.
Other materials that are used to make condoms today include polyurethane, which is a plastic compound, and polyisoprene, which is a totally synthetic, “non-latex” latex that doesn’t contain the allergens found in standard latex. I’ll get into more details on these below.
Pros and Cons of Latex Condoms
Latex condoms are effective at preventing pregnancy, as well as STDs, including HIV.
One of the downsides to latex condoms is that some people (six percent of the population) have an allergy to latex, while others simply find it to be irritating to their skin.
It’s also important to note that latex condoms should not be used with oil-based lubricants, like petroleum jelly, vegetable oils, coconut oil, or butter (and that includes dairy butter as well as vegan butter, which could have vegetable oil and/or nut oils in it.) All of these can damage the latex, thus reducing its protective qualities.
Also, latex condoms do expire, so be sure to check the expiration date on the package.
Are latex condoms vegan?
The short answer is, some latex condoms are vegan, and some are not. Non-vegan latex condoms contain casein, as mentioned above, the main protein found in milk.
Vegan latex condoms, on the other hand, utilize plantbased ingredients, such as thistle extract, which serves a similar purpose of making the latex smooth in the manufacturing process.
Polyurethane condoms are made with plastic, and they’re also effective at preventing pregnancy and protecting you from STDs, including HIV. The pros of polyurethane condoms are that people with latex allergies can use them, and many people (men and women) say they feel better than latex condoms because they’re very thin.
The downsides to polyurethane condoms are that they can be more expensive than latex condoms, and they’re also less elastic than latex. Though the thinness of the material makes these condoms popular.
Polyisoprene is a refined, synthetic form of latex that does not contain the allergens that standard latex does. Polyisoprene condoms are also effective at preventing pregnancy and the transmission of STDs, including HIV.
Polyisoprene condoms are considered vegan. Though, as with latex condoms, you should not use oil-based lubricants with them. You can use water- or silicone-based lubricants with these types of condoms.
What are vegan condoms made of?
So, essentially, vegan condoms are those that are not made with lamb or pig intestines, or any other kind of animal skin (obviously). And, vegan condoms can be latex, providing the latex is the kinds that does not contain casein. As well, vegan condoms can be made with polyurethane or polyisoprene.
So, without further ado, here are the top-rated vegan condoms:
Glyde’s mission is to revolutionize sexual health and wellness. They source the materials for their line of personal care products from worker-owned and operated producers who utilize Fair Trade labor practices and provide equal pay to men and women.
The natural rubber used in their condoms is grown sustainably and is indigenous to the region where it grows. Glyde also focuses on keeping their carbon footprint low, and their packaging is made with recycled materials and vegetable-based inks.
The company is rich in notable certifications, including The Vegan Society, PETA’s Caring Consumer Program, and the Green Business Network. Plus, they’re a certified B Corporation.
Glyde’s condoms are completely free of casein, glycerin, parabens, petrochemicals, and the spermicide Nonoxynol-9.
L. is a socially conscious personal care products company that was founded by photojournalist Talia Frenkel, who worked for the Red Cross and United Nations. While working abroad, Talia witnessed many humanitarian crises, including women’s lack of reproductive rights and the impact that HIV/AIDS were having on local communities. She was motivated to do something about it.
Today, L. works with a network of more than 3,000 female entrepreneurs who are making health care products accessible to girls and women who need them.
All of L.’s personal care products are organic and they’re free of pesticides, chlorine, fragrances, and dyes.
L.’s vegan condoms get rave reviews from male and female users alike.
SKYN, by LifeStyles, provides a few different types polyisoprene condoms that are vegan and latex-free. They produce their polyisoprene condoms at a facility that is completely separate from any facility that makes natural rubber latex. So, if you have an allergy to latex, these condoms are a great option.
Trojan’s Supra BareSkin condoms are ultra-thin and made with vegan polyurethane. They’re designed to transmit natural body heat, which users rave about. Made with clear, odor-free, medical-grade polyurethane, these condoms are super thin but still strong.
Vegan Society-approved Fair Squared condoms are made with natural, casein-free latex. Made in Germany, these condoms are also manufactured with Fair Trade-sourced natural rubber in a carbon neutral production process.
These beautiful hummingbird pictures will hopefully inspire you to do what you can to help protect these sublime little birds. Weighing in at just 4 grams (which is less than the weight of two pennies), these tiny birds beat their wings 80 times every second. And their hearts beat, on average, 1,260 beat per minute! (Farmer’s Almanac)
Threats to Hummingbirds
As is happening to bird species worldwide, hummingbirds are under threat for a number of human-caused reasons, so it’s up to us to do what we can to help them. According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a global source of conservation information for animals, fungi, and plant species, hummingbirds are threatened for reasons that include:
Loss of habitat
Changing temperatures from climate change, which disrupt their migratory patterns
Invasive, non-native plants that prevent native plants from growing, which hummingbirds rely on for nectar
Domestic and feral cats
Today, 37 species, which is 10 percent of all hummingbird species, are threatened with extinction, according to Defenders of Wildlife. At the end of this post, you’ll find additional resources on what you can do to help hummingbirds.
Beautiful Hummingbird Photos
Here are a few of my favorite hummingbird photos from Instagram. Be sure to follow the generous photographers who shared these lovely photos!
One person’s trash may be another’s treasure, but these brands making awesome recycled wallets are helping to get more of us over to the “treasure” side of things.
Like your cell phone, your wallet is something you have with you all the time, and thus you put it on display on a daily basis. A recycled wallet is a great conversation starter and it shows you care about reducing waste in the environment. I also happen to believe that recycled wallets are superb symbols of ingenuity and resourcefulness, which are key drivers in prosperity.
Here are some awesome eco-friendly wallets from innovative brands that are doing their part to keep trash out of our landfills and waterways.
Former firefighter Jake Starr repurposes decommissioned fire hoses and other firefighter gear and turns it into sturdy firefighter wallets. To date, Recycled Firefighter has reclaimed over 15,000 feet of decommissioned fire hose from around the U.S.
Here’s a video about Recycled Firefighter’s cool wallets:
Upcycling by Milo creates high-quality, one-of-a-kind upcycled wallets, handbags, and other accessories out a wide range of reclaimed materials, including vintage maps, comic books, cassette tapes, vinyl records, and more. You can see some of their cute iPad Mini cases on UniGuide.Price: ~$14.90 – $45.00
Couch creates hip vegan guitar straps, wallets, and other accessories from vintage automotive vinyl and upholstery in their studio in Long Beach, CA. Every item is one-of-a-kind, like the orange ladies’ wallet you see here, which is made with vintage upholstery material, and the green wallet, which is made from vintage Chevy Camaro upholstery.
Tinkan Designs handmakes their unique upcycled wallets using recycled cardboard, aluminum and tin cans, and other post-consumer waste. They don’t use any glues; their wallets are put together using stud rivets and stainless-steel washers. The wallets make a satisfying crinkling noise when you open and close them. But never fear, they don’t have any sharp edges.
If you’re looking for an ultra-lightweight slim wallet, you can’t go wrong with these colorful designs by OffChutes. Made with reclaimed parachutes and paraglider sails, these wallets are comfortable to carry in your back pocket, plus they’re durable and machine washable.
Based in Portland, Maine, Flowfold creates what they call “minimalist gear for everyday adventures.” Their one-of-a-kind wallets are made from durable used sail cloth. Plus, they’re all handmade in the USA.
Squiggle Chick founder Tracy Borders was on a sailing trip in Croatia when she and her husband discovered Croatian potato chips. An artist, Tracy liked the colorful bags the chips came in, so she decided to keep some as souvenirs. She also thought the bags might be used for something useful instead of being thrown away, so she began to experiment. Today, her creations have expanded from potato chip bags to other trash, which she converts into colorful wallets, passport cases, luggage tags, and other accessories.
As outdoor enthusiasts, the founders of Green Guru Gear had issues with the amount of waste created by the outdoor industry. So, they set out to solve the problem. Today, the company make a range of accessories and gear from scraps and other waste salvaged from organizations like REI, Patagonia, and Outward Bound.
Here’s a video with founder Davidson Lewis talking about Green Guru’s mission:
If you’re looking for a longer, zip wallet, check out this style from Tube Bags Thailand. Created by artisans living in rural Thailand, these wallets are made with upcycled tire inner tubes and they’re practically waterproof. Tube Bags Thailand makes other recycled accessories, including recycled tire purses and laptop sleeves, which are featured here on UnGuide.
Alchemy Goods is another innovative brand that upcycles used bicycle inner tubes and converts them into durable wallets and other accessories, such as rugged laptop cases and iPad sleeves. To date, the company has kept over 500,000 bicycle inner tubes out of landfills. All of Alchemy Goods’ products are handmade in their workshop in Seattle, WA.
If you carry a lot of stuff in your wallet, and you need multiple card slots and a coin pocket, check out these long zip wallets from WozWaste. Multiple compartments and a full zip enclosure will keep the contents organized and secure.
If you like the flexibility and utility of a simple zip bag, check out these inner tube bags from Moab Bag Company. With sturdy zippers and wrist straps, they can be used a wallet, travel case, makeup bag, small tool bag, and more. Moab offers a variety of bag sizes plus some cool slim-fold wallets.
Haiku makes a variety of cute wallets and handbags that are made from 100% recycled P.E.T. plastic bottles. Every Haiku bag keeps at least five plastic bottles out of the landfill or from polluting our oceans.
Pichuskadass founder Helena says she loves the challenge of taking existing items and turning them into something new. And she says she has a natural passion for reusing, rethinking, and reinventing trash. Her colorful recycled wallets are made with used cereal boxes that form the base, which Helena then covers with upcycled paper, such a colorful wrapping paper. A laminate coating protects the paper from wear and tear.
Recycled shoes used to be hard to find, but now, both new and established brands are coming out with more styles made from recycled materials. P.E.T. plastic, which is the plastic used to make disposable plastic bottles, can be melted down and then spun into fibers, which can then be woven into flexible materials used in shoes, as well as clothing, dog collars, and other products.
The plastic pollution problem is now a global crisis. According to the nonprofit Surfers Against Sewage, in 1950, there were 2.5 billion people in the world consuming 1.5 million tons of plastic annually. Fast-forward to 2016 and the world’s 7 billion people are consuming 320 million tons of plastic. And the horrifying statistic is that this number is set to double by 2034.
The best thing we can do is to avoid using plastic as much as possible. In addition, purchasing goods that are made from recycled plastic helps to keep plastic out of the ocean and landfills. Making the decision to buy from brands that are actively trying to solve the plastic waste problem helps to create a market for recycled plastic over virgin plastic.
Here are some innovative brands that are making cool shoes made from recycled plastic and other recycled materials. If you are looking for flip flops made from recycled materials, you can see those in my Recycled and Vegan Flip Flops Guide.
adidas and Parley for the Oceans have created a successful collaboration that’s helping to keep plastic out of the ocean. About 80% of the debris that pollutes our oceans is plastic, which kills marine life. Parley intercepts coastal plastic waste before it gets into the ocean. Then, they convert the reclaimed plastic into threads, which adidas uses to make recycled shoes and active wear You can see adidas Parley flip flops in my recycled flip flops post.
Started by surfer Kyle Parsons, San Francisco and Bali-based Indosole repurposes discarded tires and uses them in the soles of their vegan footwear line. Billions of used tires are discarded every year, which pollute waterways and other natural habitats.
Indosole is a certified B Corporation, which means it’s a for-profit company that’s certified by the nonprofit B Lab for maintaining rigorous social and environmental standards.
Here’s a video about Indosole’s production process in Bali:
Nike’s Flyknit material reduces production waste and helps to keep plastic bottles out of the ocean and landfill. They developed their flexible Flyknit material at the request of runners who wanted a shoe that fit like a sock.
Saolo makes cool street wear style shoes out of recycled materials, organic cotton, and harvested algae. Their recycled shoes are comfortable and lightweight, plus they’re cushioned with sustainable cork insoles. Every pair of their shoes keeps 3-4 plastic bottles out of the landfill and ocean. Their shoes are also 100% vegan.
The North Face is another major brand that is now incorporating recycled P.E.T. plastic into their shoes and clothing. These puffy camp slippers are lightweight, warm and comfy, perfect for camping trips or after a day or skiing or snowboarding. (For my vegan friends, they do use leather in some of their styles, so be sure to check the product details.)
Etnies creates classic skate shoes with an eco-friendly twist. Their shoes are made with recycled rubber outsoles, and the padded insoles are made with recycled materials too. Taking it a step further, their canvas uppers are made with recycled plastic.
Bhava is an ethical footwear brand that was started by Francisca Pineda, who wanted to create a new standard in the footwear industry. Bhava’s artisanal shoes 100% vegan and they’re also made with organic and recycled materials.
Beyond Skin’s founders set out to make a line of luxury shoes that were also kind to animals. They incorporate recycled polyurethane (PU) vegan leather into their designs. Beyond Skin’s shoes are designed in Brighton, UK and made in Alicante, Spain.
To date, Rothy’s has already repurposed 20 million plastic water bottles and recycled them into their popular and stylish flats. With some heavy hitter investors and fans like Meghan Markle, Rothy’s promises to bring recycled and sustainable footwear to the masses. A truly circular company, Rothy’s will recycle old shoes into new styles if you send them back to them.
Vegan wallet brands are hitting their stride, with innovative designers now offering a variety of styles in fun, cruelty-free materials like faux leather, cork, and even upcycled tires. Indeed, all these new designs make it hard to choose. But whichever style you do select, it will feel good to know you supported a compassionate brand that’s helping to lessen suffering in the world, while keeping your money secure.
According to PETA, every year, well over one billion animals are killed globally for their skin. If you think about it, your wallet is an accessory that you have with you every day. It gets a lot of exposure and, like it not, your wallet makes a statement about you. So, if someone says, “Cute wallet!” You can say, “Well, thank you very much. No animals were harmed in its creation.”
Here are some innovative brands making stylish vegan wallets:
Known for their vegan leather handbags, LaBante London also makes super stylish vegan wallets. A socially conscious brand, they donate 10% of their profits to charitable causes. LaBante London’s vegan wallets are also eco-friendly, as the faux leather is made with recycled plastic bottles.
Famous for their luxury line of vegan handbags, MATT & NAT also makes chic wallets in vegan leather. Plus, they infuse environmentally-friendly principles into their designs by using natural, plantbased, and recycled materials as much as possible.
To go with her line of delicious, luxury handbags, vegan trailblazer Stella McCartney makes some lovely cruelty-free wallets in bold colors. And some have a little bit of sparkle, which never goes out of style.
Piñatex pineapple leather is one of the most exciting sustainable materials we’ve seen in recent years. Developed by Dr. Carmen Hijosa, a former consultant to the leather industry who knew the industry needed some disruption, Piñatex is one of those materials that stands to transform the shoe and accessories market. Maniwala makes sleek vegan wallets and other accessories, such as vegan laptop cases, out of this innovative, Earth-friendly material.
If you like a little more bling in your vegan wallet, you can’t go wrong with this sleek card case made with Piñatex. Women of the World makes ethical accessories in their workshop in Paris, France. They empower women who need jobs by providing them with skills and job training to help get them back on their feet.
Alchemy Goods upcycles used bicycle inner tubes and turns them into super hip and sustainable wallets and other accessories. To date, they’ve kept over 500,000 bicycle inner tubes out landfills and waterways. Alchemy Goods’ vegan wallets are hand made in their workshop in Seattle, Washington. They also make cool vegan laptop sleeves and iPad cases.
Upcycling by Milo creates truly unique and colorful vegan wallets, iPad Mini cases, and other accessories from upcycled materials. Their cute vegan wallets and bags are made from candy wrappers, measuring tapes, vinyl records, and more.
Corkor makes their sleek vegan wallets and other accessories with natural, sustainable cork. Cork is a 100% renewable, recyclable, and biodegradable material. Plus, it’s obtained through an Earth-friendly harvesting process. When cork bark is harvested, it doesn’t harm the tree. In addition, the tree is then able to absorb even more CO2 from the environment.
Famous for their uber cool vegan guitar straps, Couch also makes some sweet vegan wallets out of upcycled vintage auto upholstery and other recycled materials. Each item is one-of-a-kind, so if you find one you fancy, don’t wait to get it!
Based in Micronesia, Green Banana Paper creates artisanal vegan wallets out of natural banana tree leaves. When you buy one of their wallets, you help support over 100 families in their small island community. These vegan wallets are made by expert craftspeople who work side-by-side to create each unique piece.
Outdoor lifestyle brand Tree Tribe creates these cool vegan wallets out of natural and sustainable teak tree leaves, which they source in Thailand. The leaves are treated with a thin laminate, which seals and preserves the leaves and makes the wallets water-resistant and tear-proof. Each vegan wallet is handmade and unique. True to their name, this socially conscious enterprise plants 10 trees for every product they sell. You can see their cool wooden sunglasses here on UniGuide.
Possibly the original vegan wallet, hemp wallets aren’t just for Dead Heads anymore. Like denim, hemp gets better with age, breaking in nicely while still maintaining its durability. Hemp wallets are comfortable and flexible, making them perfect for your back pocket. Hempy’s vegan wallets come in natural Earth tones.
A massage therapist once told me that “money is just a crystallized form of energy.” How you make your money and how you spend it impacts not just your bank account but other people, animals, nature, and our world. Your money is a manifestation of the energy you put into the world. Keeping it in a cruelty-free case just makes sense, doesn’t it?
There are a number of great shoe brands that offer some styles that are vegan, but too many include other shoes in their lineups that are made with animal skin, and in some cases, wool. (If you’ve ever seen how wool is taken from sheep on an industrial scale, you know it’s definitely not cruelty-free.) So, for this post, I wanted to give a special shout out to the best 100% vegan shoe brands.
With cruelty-free options now available for so many items, why buy anything else? And luckily for us, today there are some vegan designers who are knocking it out of the park, especially in the world of footwear, where there has been serious need for an ethical overhaul.
While we animal lovers welcome shoe brands with open arms when they start offering cruelty-free styles, I think it’s fair to put the brands that only make vegan shoes up on a pedestal, don’t you? After all, they’re walking the talk and talking the walk – demonstrating that animals do not have to suffer – and should not suffer – for whatever humans decide to put on our feet. And the good news is, today vegan shoes are not a sacrifice, whether it’s in style, durability, breathability, price, or anything else. Vegan shoes are a win win!
So, in no particular order, here are the best 100% vegan shoes brands. (And if I’m missing any here, feel free to send a nasty message to kristen at uniguide dot biz. Someday, when I have more time to manage them, I’ll set up comments on UniGuide, I promise.)
Will’s Vegan Shoes makes 100% vegan shoes and boots that are also ethically made and environmentally sustainable.
All of Will’s vegan shoes are made in Portugal and Italy, where their workers are protected by EU health, safety, anti-discrimination, and other employment protection laws. Workers also get benefits such PTO, equal pay, and maternity leave.
Will’s shoes are also sustainably made. The faux leather and other materials used in their shoes meet the OEKO-TEX® textile standard, which ensures that textiles and the materials used in them meet strict consumer safety guidelines.
In addition, Will’s utilizes a carbon-neutral supply chain, and their operations are carbon neutral. Will’s invests in renewable energy projects like wind power, hydro power, geothermal, solar power, and biomass. Plus, when you order a pair of Will’s shoes, you’ll receive them in sustainable, eco-friendly, and recyclable packaging.
I’ve written about Ahimsa in other posts on UniGuide, including posts for men’s boots and shoes, because I’m such a fan of this company’s philosophy and what they want to accomplish.
A truly mission-driven venture, Ahimsa is a Brazilian artisanal footwear brand that is out to make more than just high-quality vegan shoes. They say their mission is to create “a more conscious society, one day completely free of cruelty.” Lord knows we need more companies like this.
Ahimsa makes all of their shoes in their own workshop, so they can make sure their workers earn a living wage and are treated well. They also put a special emphasis on using eco-friendly materials in their shoes.
MATT & NAT first became well-known for their luxury vegan handbags, and recently they started to introduce fashionable vegan shoes to their collection. The name MATT & NAT is derived from “materials” and “nature.” Started in Montreal in 1995, the MATT & NAT team set out to enhance the “humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.”
Totally cruelty-free from their beginning, MATT & NAT also puts an emphasis on using natural, plantbased, and recycled materials in their designs. Natural materials include cork and natural rubber; and recycled materials include recycled nylon and recycled rubber.
Another 100% vegan footwear company, Native works to maintain a light environmental footprint during their production process. They use a low-emission manufacturing process, and their shoes are made with a foam-injection molding process that minimizes waste.
Bourgeois Boheme makes fashionable cruelty-free shoes for women and men with eco-friendly materials like Piñatex™ pineapple leather, PVC-free faux leather, and vegan microfiber. In addition, they use plant-based polymers that are derived from natural and renewable sources, including grains and seeds vs. petrochemicals.
Based in Vancouver, Canada, People Footwear offers a 100% cruelty-free line of shoes for women, men, and kids. They describe their shoes as “high-performance leisure” as they specialize in lightweight, comfortable designs.
Today, it can be a little hard to imagine there was a time when it was difficult to find high fashion vegan shoes. Like Stella McCartney, Elizabeth Olsen has been a change agent in the fashion world, demonstrating that vegan shoes can be uber-stylish, sexy, and high quality. If you’re a vegan lady who likes a little stiletto in your cruelty-free shoes, or you just want a gorgeous pair of shoes for work or a night on the town, definitely check out olsen Haus.
Like olsen Haus, Beyond Skin’s founders were frustrated by the lack of stylish, luxury shoes that were also kind to animals. So, they set out to make compassionate waves in the footwear world. Popular with vegan superstars like Natalie Portman, Beyond Skin’s stylish shoes are designed in Brighton, UK and made in Alicante, Spain.
Cri de Coeur translates to “cry from the heart,” a perfect name for a compassionate vegan footwear company. Founders Gina Ferraraccio and Julie Dicterow created their line of cruelty-free shoes with a “heartfelt desire to change the face of the fashion footwear and accessory markets by providing stylish, contemporary products that are ethically produced.”
Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Roni Kantor designs lovely, all vegan shoes that are perfect for weddings and other special occasions. Roni’s designs are inspired by her love of vintage fashion, and the materials used are inspired by her love of animals.
Jack Steinweis, Kevin Crowley, and Mark Kane, the founders of Unstitched Utilities, understood that modern day consumers want to buy ethical and eco-friendly shoes, but they don’t want to sacrifice on style when it comes to honoring their values.
Using vegan dyes and glues in their creations, Unstitched Utilities’ shoes are also made with eco-friendly materials. They use a material called Tyvek®, which is a high-density polyethylene fiber that’s water resistant, durable, and breathable. It’s also vegan and can be recycled.
Stella McCartney was infusing veganism into her designs before vegan was cool. She is a consistent advocate for animal rights and lover of high fashion. This combination of values and passion have brought the world some seriously badass vegan shoes and gorgeous clothes.
A certified B corporation, Indosole repurposes discarded tires and uses them in the soles for their laid back vegan shoes. Kyle Parsons, an avid surfer and environmentalist, started Indosole after a surfing trip to Bali, Indonesia. He was shocked by the amount of trash littering the beaches and ocean in what should have been an island paradise.
On this same trip, Kyle happened to need a new pair of sandals and bought some locally. He was intrigued by how the sandals were made: the soles were created from used motorbike tires. This ingenuity and the desire to reduce the amount of waste polluting Bali’s natural environment led Kyle to create a super cool, socially conscious footwear brand that is beloved by surfers, travelers, and others care about the Earth.
I have been following Trade in House for a few years now, and it’s been inspiring to see their collection of vegan shoes and accessories expand. Handmade in Portugal with sustainable, eco-friendly cork, Trade in House’s collection is both unique and stylish. Be sure to visit their Etsy store to see more styles for men and women.
With their apropos name, Free Rangers makes unique, free style vegan shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. All of their shoes are handmade to order in their workshop in the UK. They’re also 100% cruelty-free. Plus, they come in 19 different colors.
If you like the leather look, check out Novacas’ vegan shoes. Their name means “no cows” in Spanish – the perfect name for a vegan footwear company. All of their faux leather designs are made with non-toxic and PVC-free materials. Plus, they’re ethically made in Portugal.
The People’s Movement, otherwise known as MOVMT, has a clear mission: to reduce the amount of plastic pollution on land and in the ocean by turning it into something useful – in this case, really cool shoes.
The company talks about making “eco-hip” footwear and accessories, but the simplicity of the term “eco-hip” belies the depth of MOVMT’s mission. Eco hip is not just about looking cool. Eco hip stands for where we are in our modern world, when shoes are no longer just shoes; they can a means for solving bigger problems.
MOVMT collects plastic bags in Bali that would otherwise be thrown away and blends them with environmentally-friendly materials to make the fabrics for their shoes. They support the nonprofit 5 Gyres, which also focuses on reducing plastic pollution through oceanic research, community collaboration, and action.
MOVMT shoes are casual and comfortable and come in a variety of colors and styles. In addition to recycled plastic, you’ll find styles in other eco-friendly materials, such as organic cotton canvas.
NAE stands for “No Animal Exploitation,” which, of course, is another perfect name for an all vegan footwear company. Based in Portugal, NAE’s founding principles are that no animals should be exploited for footwear or other reasons.
NAE also focuses on sustainability, using natural materials like cork and Piñatex pineapple leather in their designs. They also use recycled materials from automotive airbags and PET plastic bottles, as well as plantbased microfibers, in their designs.
Fugu is another all vegan brand that produces truly unique shoes. Self-described as a maker of “cool Japanese shoes,” Fugu’s unisex canvas shoes and boots speak urban Ninja warrior and warrior princess. Made with recycled rubber soles, Fugu’s cool boots have been featured in a few Hollywood movies, including Star Wars and The Hunger Games.
Siam Tip’s handmade shoes and boots mix artisanal, handmade design with exotic, ethnic flair. Made by local artisans in Thailand, these all vegan shoes mix tradition with modern, carefree style. They’re colorful, comfortable, and cruelty-free.
BC Footwear makes affordable women’s shoes and boots in faux leather and other manmade materials. Whether you’re looking for something casual or dressy, or a great pair of shoes for work, BC Footwear offers a number of vegan styles.
Golden Ponies makes cute vegan shoes and accessories in Guadalajara, Mexico. They offer a variety of fun, all vegan shoe styles for women, including iridescent sneakers, sparkly boots, vintage-style t-strap pumps, and cork oxfords. Visit their Etsy store to see them all.
Nature Breeze is another brand that offers a wide range of affordable women’s shoes, sandals, and boots in manmade materials. They’re great for anyone on a budget. Whether you’re looking for platform sandals or knee-high stretchy boots, Nature Breeze has you covered.
Made with recycled plastic water bottles, Rothy’s is a shoe brand that is loved by stylish celebs like Meghan Markle and all kinds of women and girls who love chic simplicity and eco-friendly style. The company has already repurposed over 20 million plastic water bottles to create their colorful, slim shoes. And when your Rothy’s wear out, you can send them back to the company to be recycled.
Known for their sandals and flip flops for women and men, Okabashi also makes vegan clogs. Their shoes are all made in the USA and they contain 20% recycled materials. Plus, when you’re done with their shoes, you can mail them back and Okabashi will recycled the materials to make more shoes.
Wooden sunglasses and bamboo sunglasses make a fashion forward statement in today’s world, and the selection of frame styles and lenses has never been more diverse. I researched a variety of wood-framed and bamboo sunglasses brands and present my faves them here.
People often refer to bamboo as a wood, as in “bamboo wood sunglasses,” because bamboo has the same aesthetic qualities as real wood. However, bamboo is actually a fast-growing grass – it holds the world’s record for the fastest growing plant.
In addition to being Earth-friendly, both wood and bamboo sunglasses are lightweight, so they’re comfortable enough to wear all day long. Not to mention, many styles float, making them the perfect accessory for having fun in the water on a sunny summer day.
Today, you can find real wood sunglasses in cherry wood, maple, pear, and other varieties. And because every tree is different, no two pairs are exactly alike. Some designers are also making sunglasses from reclaimed wood that was previously used for flooring, skateboard decks, and other products.
Aside from the aesthetics, why should you buy sunglasses that are made with wood frames, bamboo, or other sustainable materials?
All over the world, people wear sunglasses. This year, Americans alone will buy 200 million pairs. With our growing plastic pollution crisis, it only makes sense to reduce the amount of virgin plastic we buy. Purchasing sunglasses that use less virgin plastic, or none at all, is the optimal way to go.
Here are some innovative brands making cool sunglasses with wood and bamboo frames:
As the name implies, Woodies is all about wood sunglasses. Their brand has a fun retro vibe, but their materials, including polarized lenses, are all cutting edge. The company is devoted to making petrol-plastic a thing of the past. Woodies offers a broad selection of men’s and women’s frame shapes in an impressive collection of woods, including rose wood, zebra wood, walnut, and more.
Designer Paul Ven creates artisanal real wood sunglasses in walnut, ebony, zebra wood, oak, and maple. Paul Ven’s designed are created in London, and their Etsy page claims,
“People (especially in London and probably other big cities) who don’t have these wood sunglasses will express high levels of jealousy towards you. They’re a real head turner. So be noticed, and be cheeky as a fox.”
Every pair of Paul Vens is unique, and you can make them even more so (if that’s possible) by getting a custom message engraved inside the arm of the sunglasses.
They come with polarized, shatterproof polycarbonate lenses that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, and ever pair has stainless steel spring hinges. But wait, there’s more: These babies float.
Based in Sudbury, Canada, Mitchell Made is another designer that crafts beautiful wood and bamboo sunglasses by hand. Their styles are unique, but with a vintage feel. Mitchell Made ships their sunglasses with a faux leather case.
Hammockable plants five trees for every pair of sunglasses they sell in partnership with the nonprofit Trees for the Future. The organization helps families transition from destructive farming techniques to a forest garden system that helps sustain them for the long term. Hammockable gets some of the natural maple wood for their sunglasses from unused wood scraps that are left over from the production of skateboards.
If you’ve got a party coming up and want to give your guests a fun, eco-friendly gift, check out the selection of custom wood and bamboo sunglasses offered by Etsy artisans. A number of companies, like My Personal Memories, will engrave names and slogans on the arms of the shades.
4est Shades’ wooden sunglasses are all natural and handmade out of real maple and cherry wood. The company also make styles in bamboo.
All of their eco-friendly sunglasses are polarized to provide the UV protection you’d expect from any top brand. Plus, their high-quality wooden and bamboo sunglasses are super durable. Every pair comes with an engraved bamboo case and a microfiber cloth for upkeep and safekeeping. Eco-conscious in both product and practice, 4est Shades plants two trees for every pair of sunglasses they sell.
Blue Planet is another socially conscious eyewear company whose brand means a lot more than quality eyewear. Based in Santa Barbara, California, they create sunglasses and corrective eyewear with a variety of sustainable materials, including wood, bamboo, recycled metal, and recycled plastic. You can see their recycled styles in my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”
With every pair of glasses Blue Planet sells, they donate a pair of glasses to a person in need through their charitable partners. To date, they’ve improved the sight for over 400,000 visually impaired people around the world.
Here’s a video featuring Lisa Lawenda, a VP at Blue Planet, and Matt Weinstein, the company’s brand manager, talking about Blue Planet’s Visualize Change program, which helps restore sight for people around the world:
Amoloma is another brand that’s making eco-friendly sunglasses in sustainable materials like pear wood, bamboo, recycled skateboard decks, and also cellulose acetate. Their lenses are all polarized for optimal UV protection. And if you’re looking for more colorful options, check out their styles made from recycled skateboards in my post “Recycled Sunglasses: Look Good While Doing Good.”
Socially conscious brand Proof Eyewear donates 12% of their annual profits to charitable organizations around the world. They started making their wooden sunglasses from scraps in the family’s sawmill, and they eventually expanded to using recycled aluminum and bioplastics in their frames.
Known as the “Shark Tank Sunglasses,” Proof Sunglasses had their television debut on the popular show Shark Tank a few years ago. I loved story behind these socially conscious shades when I heard it. Little did I imagine at the time that I would be blogging about Proof Eyewear someday.
In their wood framed sunglasses, Proof used FSC certified wood. FSC is short for the Forest Stewardship Council, which is an international nonprofit that sets global standards for forest products. These standards help to promote eco-friendly, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.
Proof’s lenses are UVA and UVB protected, and if you wear prescription lenses, you can easily swap them out in Proof’s eco-friendly frames.
Woodzee hand makes their wood framed sunglasses in a variety of sustainable and reclaimed woods, including madrone, oak, and maple. Their shades are comfortable and lightweight, and each pair is one of a kind. All of their lenses are polarized with 100% UV400 protection.
Tree Tribe is an outdoor lifestyle brand that plants a whopping 10 trees for every sale they make. They design a number of eco-friendly products, including water bottles, eco-conscious clothing, and of course – cool, sustainable sunglasses.
Their real wood sunglasses have interchangeable, scratch resistant polarized lenses that offer UV400 protection. You can easily swap out their lenses for prescription lenses, or if you’re just in the mood to change lens colors.
Here’s a video that gives you a taste of what Tree Tribe is all about:
Zoni Wear hand makes wooden sunglasses, watches, and other accessories in their workshop in Plymouth, New Hampshire. They’ll custom engrave your shades to make them all your own or the perfect gift. They have some unique lens styles too, so you can stand out from the crowd.
You can find bamboo frame sunglasses in a variety of styles today, whether you’re looking for something modern or more traditional. Bamboo is a superstar sustainable material that makes great sunglasses. It’s easy to grow without much water, it grows fast, and it’s naturally anti-bacterial and water-resistant.
Robin Wood is a designer I found on Etsy that handmakes artisanal sunglasses from sustainable bamboo. Every pair has polarized lenses with UV400 protection, and they come with a two-year warranty. The company also designs wooden watches that have eco-friendly cork wristbands, so be sure to check out their Etsy store.
Solo Eyewear is another brand with an inspiring give-back philosophy. They also focus on helping to restore vision for people in need.
All of their eco-friendly sunglasses are made with 100% sustainable materials, including repurposed bamboo and recycled plastic. And their lenses are UV protected and prescription-friendly. Their bamboo arm sunglasses come in a variety of frame shapes, including wayfarer, aviator, and round.
This year is shaping up to be a fabulous one for eco-friendly fashion. Social media continues to shed light on the wasteful and polluting aspects of the fashion industry, and the recent report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has mercifully scared enough people to the point that climate change is now a trending topic in mainstream media outlets.
The report states that we have just 12 years to reduce greenhouse gases enough to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5°C (34.7°F) or irreversible, catastrophic events will occur, including floods, droughts, and extreme heat that will impact hundreds of millions of people. The costs from our inability to act are already taking financial tolls on both wealthy and impoverished people.
In fact, Harvard University’s NiemanLab, which helps journalists stay on top changing media trends, has dubbed 2019 the “Year of the Climate Reporter.”
What does this mean for fashion?
Climate change is going to impact every sector of our economy and our lifestyles, and in many ways, it already has.
The decisions that designers and consumers make now will dictate whether the fashion industry is a scourge to our planet or a part of the solution.
According to the online art and design site AnOther, the ethical and eco-friendly clothing market grew by nearly 20% last year, notably because millennials don’t want to buy clothing that has a negative impact on the environment.
The charter identifies ways in which the textile, clothing, and fashion industries can work together on holistic commitments to fight climate change. And it goes beyond previous commitments with a goal of reaching an industry-wide 30% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and net-zero emissions by 2050.
Here’s a video that talks about the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action:
Vegan Fashion Takes the Lead
Sustainable and vegan fashion are two branches of the same tree, and the rise of veganism and vegan fashion, including vegan shoes and accessories, is helping to infuse more sustainable practices into the fashion industry.
A group of top designers have already announced they will exclude fur from their lineups, and the first Vegan Fashion Week will take place in Los Angeles starting February 1st.
Because animal agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, eating a plantbased diet is one of the easiest ways we can personally fight climate change.
Many vegans considered themselves to be environmentalists, so vegan consumerism is extending well beyond eating organic and non-GMO food to wearing ethical and eco-friendly clothing, as well as choosing organic and vegan personal care and homeware items.
Vegan Designers Who Believe in Sustainability
A new breed of vegan designers, like Will’s of London, are playing a big role in combining cruelty-free and sustainable business practices by infusing them into every aspect of their supply chains and operations.
Will’s creates a 100% vegan line of men’s and women’s shoes and boots. He also uses OEKO-TEX® certified vegan leather in his designs and runs a carbon-neutral supply chain. Furthermore, Will’s shoes and boots come in sustainable, eco-friendly packaging that can be recycled.
Recycled Fashion: Not Your Cousin’s Hand-Me-Downs
Other exciting development are happening with a rise of clothing rental services, such as Rent the Runway and the increased use of recycled materials in textiles.
Increasingly, you can find t-shirts and other clothing, as well as accessories like sunglasses, that are made with recycled plastic.
This year is going to be an exciting year for anyone who wears clothes and cares about animals. (Hopefully, that’s most of you!) Los Angeles will be hosting the premier Vegan Fashion Week (V/FW) starting February 1st. The event is sure to draw a crowd, with affordable ticket prices from $20-$60, which you can get via the V/FW website.
Empowering Consumers with a Tribute to Animals
According to V/FW, the four-day event was created to “empower conscious brands and humans globally with an elevated platform for achievement, inspiration, and discovery.” The event will be not only a tribute to glamour and cutting edge design, but also a “tribute to animals and an ode to the end of animal exploitation in all forms.”
The week will kick off with an invite-only “Opening Soirée & Tribute” at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles. It will be hosted by the event’s creative director Emmanuelle Rienda, who is, naturally, an animal rights activist.
On Saturday, February 2nd, the runway show will begin in the Fashion Theater in the California Market Center. A list of designers and exhibitors will be posted on the V/FW website soon.
Also on Saturday, and carrying through to Sunday, there will be a Vegan Lounge and panel discussions. Panel topics will include animal rights, social justice, circularity, and technology.
More Designers Are Banning Fur
In too many ways, the fashion industry has been slow to stop exploiting animals for the sake of style. It’s ironic given the industry’s obsession with being forward thinking, ahead of the times, and trend setting. However, the rate at which top designers are joining the cruelty-free movement is promising. According to Vogue, here are some of the leading designers who have finally seen the light and gone fur-free (or never used it in the first place, like Stella McCartney):
Chances are, unless you’re an entomologist or an exterminator, you don’t spend much of your day thinking about bugs. But if you spend a few minutes a day, or even more than a few minutes, you’re probably worried about our natural world. So am I.
The lowly bug, so often viewed with derision, trampled underfoot, sprayed with poison, swatted, and ridiculed – just so happens to be supporting life on this planet, and that includes us. It’s beyond time for us to give insects the overdue love, nurturing, and attention they deserve – because they are in deep trouble. And it’s all out fault.
The Insect Apocalypse
Insects around the world are facing an apocalypse as a result of toxins we humans put into the environment and as a result of anthropogenic (yep, that’s us too) climate change. Like plants, insects are a foundational contributor to sustaining life on Earth. And it’s up to use to save them.
I must say, writing this post was like pulling a thread on a sweater that slowly began to unravel. One link to one piece of research led to another and another. As I learned more about insects, I understood even more acutely how they personify the interdependence of life on Earth – how fully we all depend on biodiversity.
And it’s our own hubris – our self-involved preoccupation with our own species, how we fetishize our own wants, politics, and neuroses – that has caused us to totally drop the ball, to miss the big picture and allow this catastrophe to happen. Time to wake up and take stronger action.
How do insects support life on Earth?
As explained by the e-learning site CK12, insects perform many important functions that sustain life on our planet:
They aerate the soil.
They pollinate flowering plants. (Thanks bees, wasps, butterflies, and ants!)
They help control the size of other insect populations, such as aphids and caterpillars, who eat plants. (Thanks lady bugs, spiders, and praying mantises!)
They feed birds, fish, reptiles, other animals, and other insects.
They scavenge, eating fallen trees and dead animals, and then recycle those nutrients back into the soil. (Thanks, beetles!)
They create top soil, which is the nutrient-rich layer of soil that is fundamental to helping plants grow. (Thanks, all bugs for fertilizing the soil with your droppings!)
They burrow and dig, creating underground tunnels that help provide water to plants. (Thanks beetles and ants!)
Pollinating insects help at least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of our wild plants to thrive. Without bees to spread seeds, many plants, including food crops, would die off (NRDC).
In essence, Nature has things dialed down. She’s been doing this for a very long time, and insects are part of her creation. They deserve to be here as much as we do. And clearly, we need each other!
Many Species of Insects, but an Alarming Drop in Their Populations
According to Scientific American, there are close to one million species of insects on Earth, and some entomologists think there could be 30-times that number that are yet to be discovered. By comparison, there are only 5,416 species of mammals.
But report after report is showing that insect populations are in staggering decline all over the world:
A study published in PLOS ONE in 2017 conducted research that spanned the past three decades. It found that 75% of flying insects have vanished from 63 nature protection areas studied in Germany.
A study published in Science in 2014 reported that there was a 45 percent drop in the number of invertebrates worldwide, most of which are insects.
A 2018 census found an alarming decline in monarch butterflies on the California coast. Scientists in Australia were also shocked by similar decline in there.
In 2017, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed the bumble bee on the Endangered Species List for the first time in history because there’s been an 88 percent decline in their numbers and an 87 percent loss in the amount of territory they inhabit.
And by no means a side note (though I’m trying to stay focused on insects here), 40% of the world’s bird populations are in decline, according to a study released by the nonprofit BirdLife International.
This is not acceptable and its solely our responsibility to fix this. Here are some ideas for how we can all help.
What You Can Do to Help Bees, Butterflies, and Other Insects
1. Eat certified organic and non-GMO verified foods.
This one’s a biggie. According to the nonprofit Pesticide Action Network (PAN), herbicide-resistant, genetically modified (GE) seeds “have driven a massive increase in pesticide applications since they hit the market in the 1990s — and that’s no accident.”
Genetically modified seeds are causing farmers to use more pesticides and herbicides, which kill all kinds of insects, including pollinators on whom our food supply is dependent.
According to PAN, GE crops have not delivered on their promise of producing higher yields and reduced reliance on pesticides. Instead, they’ve dramatically driven up the use of harmful chemical inputs, which has put a burden of health risks and higher costs on farmers and their local communities.
Adoption of GE seeds and crops in the U.S. has resulted in a 527 million pound increase in herbicide use between 1996 and 2011, according to USDA data.
And in 2011 alone GE crops used 20 percent more pesticides on average than non-GE crops.
GE seeds that require an increase in pesticide use has increased the market share for corporations, including Bayer, which now owns Monsanto, and DowDuPont – companies that make pesticides and that are responsible for genetically modifying seeds. Bayer buying Monsanto has created a giant seeds and pesticides company. Why else would a pesticide company want to own a seed company? It makes financial sense for them.
Let’s always keep in mind: Pesticides are poison.
As poisons, pesticides should be an exception. Why have they become the norm and organic the exception? I get that it’s a complicated issue. Some studies show that GM crops have resulted in a decrease in the use of some chemical insecticides. But that’s a rarity. And insects and birds are still facing a threat of mass extinction.
A class of pesticides called neonicotinoids have been found to cause entire colonies of honeybees to collapse.
The nonprofit Beyond Pesticides provides a variety of resources that explains how this works, such as this video:
According to the Organic Consumers Association, GM seeds are drenched in neonicotinoids. Furthermore, Monsanto’s Roundup (glyphosate), which is used to grow GMO crops as well as to kill weeds in yards, gardens, schoolyards, and public parks, are killing bees and other pollinators. In addition, its impacting birds and other wildlife, and not to mention – us. (Gluten sensitivity is not just a fad. It’s directly tied to the increased use of Roundup on wheat fields.)
I’m all for capitalism and making money – but only if it’s done in a way with minimal health, animal, and environmental impact – not greed. You don’t have to be a scientist to know that:
Less Poison in Our Environment and Less Death of Living Creatures = Good & More Poison and More Death = Bad
What’s good for the birds and bees is good for us.
Look for the USDA Certified and Non-GMO Verified labels.
In the U.S., all USDA certified organic foods are non-GMO. Different countries have their own organic certification programs (if they have them at all), so it’s important to be familiar with the standards for the country in which you live.
The Non-GMO Project is a certification system that ensures that a food contains less than 0.9% genetically modified ingredients. However, there’s no rule that says non-GMO foods must also be grown without pesticides. In fact, according to the Food Babe, non-GMO crops like wheat can be pre-harvested with Roundup and still be considered non-GMO.
In an interview on iHealthTube, Jeffrey Smith, a world-renowned expert on GMOs and the author of the book Seeds of Deception, says that the only problem with going with straight USDA organic certification is that USDA certified organic, while it prohibits the use of GMOs, does not actually test for GMOs. Whereas, Non-GMO Verified does.
Here’s a video where Jeffrey Smith explains the difference between USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified:
So, long story short, for your health and the health of the birds, bees, and everyone else, eat certified organic foods whenever possible, and look for the two seals on your food products. Yes, organic and non-GMO foods can be more expensive, but of all the investments you can make, investing in your health and life on this planet is a no-brainer.
2. When you wear cotton, make sure it’s organic cotton.
Even though it’s a natural fiber, non-organic cotton uses a lot of insecticides and pesticides to produce:
Cotton accounts for 24% of the insecticides and pesticides used globally, while just comprising 2.4% of the world’s crop land (Pesticide Action Network).
94% of the cotton grown in the U.S. is genetically modified (USDA).
In addition, non-organic, commercial cotton has a host of other problems associated with it.
3. Use sheets, towels, dish towels, and other textiles that are made with organic cotton.
If you look around your home, you can probably find a lot of cotton besides your clothing. For the same reason you want organic cotton clothes, you should opt for other organic cotton textiles. The more of us who demand only organic cotton, the less pesticides will be used. In addition, increased demand will help drive the cost of organic cotton down. Let’s make organic cotton the norm instead of the exception.
4. When gardening and growing food, don’t use pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, or artificial fertilizers.
There are a number of ways you can create a healthy garden while avoiding the use of toxic and artificial fertilizers. The “But is it vegan?” question does come into play with some organic fertilizers, such as manure, sea bird and earthworm castings, and bat guano, so you’ll have to make a decision on whether you want to go with those options are not. Kitchen compost can also be a great source for organic fertilizer, providing you’re eating organic foods.
Natural, vegan fertilizers that provide a good source of nitrogen include organic alfalfa meal, cottonseed meal, and soybean meal. While rock phosphate can be a good source for phosphorus, which helps with root development, flowering blooms, sturdy stems, and winter hardiness. And kelp meal is a good source of potassium, which also promotes flower blooms as well as fruit production and resistance to pests.
Planting companion plants in your garden can also naturally repel pests. For example, garlic repels aphids and basil helps to protect tomatoes.
5. Plant native plants in your yard and garden.
Planting different types of native plants provides food and refuge for insects. According to an article in The Guardian, 97% of the wildflower meadows in the UK alone have been destroyed.
And a study published in the Smithsonian found that the lack of native plants in people’s yards has led to a decline in suburban bird populations. “Insect-eating birds that depend on the availability of high-calorie, high-protein cuisine — namely caterpillars and spiders — during the breeding season to feed their young are finding the menu severely lacking in backyards landscaped with even a small proportion of nonnative plants.”
National Geographic recommends having some kind of native plant blooming for each season, or at least in spring, summer, and fall, to support pollinators, as some species are active for a couple months each year, while others are active year round.
In addition, a variety of types of native plants that are different heights and shapes encourage a diversity of insects.
The nonprofit BugLife provides useful information for planting with insect health in mind.
And if you like to grow some non-native fruits, vegetables, and other plants, National Geographic recommends planting native plants on borders in your garden. This will improve pollination of your crops and will attract and support a variety of pollinators, such as wasps and hover flies, which control crop pests.
6. Create mini habitats on your roof, balcony, or windowsill.
The majority of people in the U.S., about 63%, live in metropolitan areas, and about 77% live in detached, single family homes. But whether you live in the city or suburbs, in a mobile home or an apartment on the 20th floor, you have the opportunity to create a mini habitat to help insects and other species.
Connecting your own yard or balcony to those of your neighbors and other green spaces in your neighborhood, whether they be parks or road median, can all contribute to creating safe havens for not just insects, but birds, bats, amphibians, and reptiles.
8. Provide water.
Insects need water just like we do, so every garden, including those on balconies, should have a source of water.
The YouTube channel Wild About Nature also provides some useful gardening tips that help insects. This video has a great example of how easy it is to provide a simple water source for insects:
The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation recommends planting milkweed that’s native for your area in your garden and other locations. Milkweed provides an essential habitat and breeding ground for caterpillars and monarch butterflies, and it supports a diversity of pollinators with its nectar. Xerces provides a useful directory of milkweed seed providers so you can find seeds that are native to your area.
11. Don’t buy flowers that have double blooms.
Another argument for native plants is that that mouthparts of native pollinators have adapted to accessing the nectar in native plants to their natural habitats, whereas nonnative flowers and those with double blooms may make it impossible for them to access the nectar.
12. Don’t rake or mulch.
Fallen leaves offer benefits to insects, other animals, and the environment, says the National Wildlife Federation. Leaves and other plant yard debris account for more than 13 percent of the nation’s solid waste, which equates to 33 million tons per year. And much of it is discarded in plastic bags, making it difficult to biodegrade.
Then, it’s disposed of in solid-waste landfills, which are the largest source of man-made methane emissions in the U.S. – a potent greenhouse gas. (And this doesn’t even include the CO2 emitted from leaf blowers and the trucks transporting the yard debris to the landfill.)
Seventy percent of bee species dig nests in ground and raise their young there, which they can’t do if there’s no ground cover or mulch is in the way, says National Geographic. If you do need to get rid of some yard debris, better to compost it and use it as fertilizer.
13. Don’t use bug zappers.
It goes without saying that big zappers kill insects, including beneficial insects. But they’ve been proven to not work for killing mosquitoes.
According to Science Daily, mosquitoes are more attracted to the CO2 emitted by people, so they’re usually not going near the bug zapper anyway.
And a study conducted by researchers at Kansas State University found that the insects that are electrocuted produce a shower of airborne bacteria and virus-laden particles, which humans then breathe in.
The issue is so problematic that healthcare professionals recommend bug zappers not be used in food handling areas, hospitals, daycare facilities, or anywhere else that control of microorganisms and insects is important.
Besides purchasing organic products and creating insect-friendly habitats around your home, there are a variety of ways that you can volunteer your time to help insects, including taking part in citizen science programs. Here are a few:
Whether you have time to volunteer or not, you can always donate to organizations that are doing the research and heavy lifting to conserve insect populations around the world. You can find local nonprofit or larger, global ones.
Climate change is no longer something we need to worry about for the future. It’s already here and it’s already costing us money, not to mention the lives of other species with whom we share our planet. Here are ways that you could lose money as a result of climate change – or may be losing money already.
According GoBankingRates, 45 U.S. states will experience a loss in GDP as a result of climate change, especially those in the South and the lower Midwest.
But how will this affect your personal bottom line? Here are a few ways:
1. You could pay more for food.
According to scientists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and as reported in The Guardian, changes in temperature and rainfall patterns might lead to food price increases of 3 to 84 percent by 2050. And crop yields around the world could drop by 25 percent from 2039 to 2049. Even in the U.S., where we have ready access to a variety of foods, a shrinking global food supply could drive up prices here.
When I hear stats like this, it makes me even more concerned about Big Ag dumping more genetically modified, pesticide-ridden seeds and poisons into the soil to try to boost crop yields. Keep buying organic and supporting organic farmers!
2. You could pay more for water.
Just as it’s already impacting our food supply, including with the catastrophic impacts on pollinating insects, climate change is impacting our water supply.
According to Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, a nonprofit that works with corporations and municipalities to disclose the environmental impacts of their operations, “Much of the impact of climate change will be felt through changing patterns of water availability, with shrinking glaciers and changing patterns of precipitation, increasing the likelihood of drought and flood.”
Droughts are among the most expensive weather-related disasters in the world as they impact ecosystems, agriculture, and human society, says NASA climate scientist Dr. Benjamin Cook in an article for CarbonBrief.org. And regions “as diverse as California, the Eastern Mediterranean, East Africa, South Africa, and Australia have all experienced severe – and, in some cases, unprecedented – droughts in recent years.”
We cannot view water as an unlimited resource. We need to view it as precious and do what we can to protect our water supplies, including from contamination and run-off from factory farms. Growing crops to feed livestock consumes 56% of the fresh water in the U.S. So, people who eat a vegan diet save 1,100 gallons of fresh water per day. In addition, animal agriculture is one of the biggest sources of water pollution in the U.S.
3. Your income could drop.
The average person should expect to lose a quarter of their income as a result of climate change by 2100, say researchers at UC Berkeley. For millennials and people with children, this is an especially serious concern. Millennials are expected to collectively lose $8.8 trillion in potential lifetime income due to climate change.
4. You could pay even more for healthcare.
Just like those of animals and insects, our human bodies have not had time to adapt to the environmental changes resulting from climate change. In essence, climate change is the result of technical advances happening at warp speed, and the Earth’s natural systems, including our bodies, have not had time to adapt.
According to CNN, higher temperatures will cause more heat stroke and even increased deaths, notably in places like the Midwest. There will also be in increase in mosquito and tickborne diseases, like Zika, dengue fever, and chikungunya, as well as more cases of West Nile virus.
Furthermore, pollution and other changes in the air will cause asthma and allergies to become worse.
In addition, we’ll have more exposure to foodborne and waterborne diseases as microorganisms thrive in warmer temperatures.
5. You could pay more for energy.
Even though you might pay less for heat in winter due to global warming, demand for more electricity to run air conditioners is expected to outweigh those savings. According to U.S. News and World Report, the average American should expect an increase in energy costs of 10 to 22 percent.
However, there is hope in the form of renewables. An article in Forbes says the cost of renewables is expected to be lower than fossil fuels by 2020. (We know renewables are already our saving grace when it comes to fighting climate change!)
6. You could pay more for property insurance.
Since 1980, the frequency of weather-related events that cost $1 billion or more in damages has grown dramatically. Today, those costs have reached a total of $1.1 trillion, according to a story in Yahoo! Finance.
Besides being directly affected by natural disasters by losing loved ones, pets, and homes, many people are already experiencing an increase in their insurance premiums. The recent deadly and disastrous fires in both Northern and Southern California have caused homeowners’ insurance premiums to skyrocket (L.A. Times).
7. You could see an increase in taxes.
As natural disasters become more expensive, someone has to pay for the damages. While I expect there will be a lot of law suits against the culprits (get ready, fossil fuel companies), in all likelihood, our tax dollars will be used to foot much of the bill.
According to U.S. News, extreme weather “plays havoc on the nation’s transportation infrastructure. High heat can bend railways, soften asphalt, and expand steel in bridges and other structures.” In addition, flooding impacts roadbeds and bridge supports. So, we should expect to invest in a lot of new infrastructure and repairs.
Climate change will negatively impact so many areas of our lives, from the cost of food, to healthcare, to insurance, you can see how we have to take action on multiple levels right now. But even though this is depressing to consider, I’m a firm believer in the innovative tenacity of the human spirit. It’s just a matter of taking massive action instead of passively sitting on the sidelines and doing nothing. I’ll share more information on what you can do personally to fight climate change soon.
Can you be vegan and still wear cowboy boots? Heck yeah, you can! When doing my research, I was happy to find a variety of vegan cowboy boots and western boots for all you compassionate cowgirls and cowboys out there. While there are definitely more vegan cowboy boots for women than there are for men, you’ll see a few styles for guys at the end of this post. (And if you’re looking for other men’s vegan boot styles, check out my post on cool men’s boots.)
The History of Cowboy Boots
But first, a little lesson on the history of cowboy boots… Cowboy boots date back to the 1600s, when riding boots started to appear in Europe that had “high tops, pointed toes, and 2″ stacked heels,” says ShoeInfo. But where did those 2″ heels originate? Apparently, they were first seen in the 13th century on invading Mongol tribesmen who wore bright red wooden heels on their boots. According to ShoeInfo, “Mongols were consummate horsemen and their easy victories left a mark on European society.”
Since owning and caring for a horse required wealth, and being on horseback placed a person physically above those who were not, people on horseback in high heels became associated with nobility. To this day, we say “well-heeled” to describe a person who is wealthy or aristocratic. Eventually, heeled riding boots made their way to the Americas, quite possibly on the feet of the Conquistadors.
Throughout history, boots were made with animal skin. Thankfully, today we have access to a variety of materials that make durable, warm, and comfortable boots without harming animals.
So, without further ado, here are some sweet faux-leather, faux-suede, and otherwise vegan cowgirl and cowboy boots.
High Heel Cowboy Boots and Western Boots for Women
Very Volatile Cowboy Boots
Very Volatile is a brand that offers a number of western boots that are made from manmade materials, so you can bring out your inner cowgirl and still be cruelty-free. If you like cowboy boots that have the leather look but are not made of leather, you’ll find them with Very Volatile.
For a slightly off beat cowgirl boot, check out this style in green faux leather with classic cowboy boot styling and a 3″ heel. And if green doesn’t suit your fancy, they also come in brown. They have a rounded toe and a deep V in the front, and, they’re embellished with cute little silver studs.
Another classic ladies’ western boot by Vert Volatile, the Raspy comes in black, tan, brown, or red wine vegan leather. These high-heeled cowgirl boots have pull up tabs on the sides and a gold accent above the heel.
Sexy 3” high heels make these cowgirl boots just a little more fun! They’re made of tan faux leather and have decorate teal green inlays. The shaft is 11″ from arch and they have rubber soles for easy walking.
You don’t have to be a vegan or a vegetarian to love all of the styles of animal-friendly boots offered by Roper. You just have to love wearing a good pair of cowboy boots! Roper also makes some adorable girls and boys cowboy boots that are vegan, plus a few men’s styles. Just a note: Roper makes leather cowboy boots too, so be sure to read the product details before you buy.
High-tech cowgirls will love these light up cowboy boots! They come with a USB charger that you connect inside the shaft of the boot, which charges them up. Charges them up for what, you might ask? So, they sparkle when you walk and dance, Girl! Look out, Dolly! There’s a new Jolene in town! These light up cowboy boots come in black or brown.
If you love stars but you’re looking for a little more subtlety, these Stars and Stones Boots by Roper will do you right. The shaft measures approximately 13″ from the arch, and the heel is 2.25”. They also have a flexible sole and soft support insole for extra comfort. These vegan western boots come in brown or black.
For a little extra country glimmer, check out these cute sparkly cowboy boots. They’re the perfect combo of rugged faux leather with a stacked 2.75” heel and a little bit of glitz underneath. The shaft measures 13″ from arch.
These cool cowgirl boots by Durango have a rugged leather look and special extra features like antiqued metal hardware and wrap-around belts. They come to mid-calf, which makes them perfect with jeans or a cowgirl skirt. They sort of remind me of Guns n Roses fan, but whether or not you’re a fan of that band, if you’re looking for a unique pair of faux leather cowboy boots, this pair will fit the bill.
For a slightly more biker babe style western boot, check out these slouchy, ankle strap with ring boots by Refresh. They show you can be both badass and cruelty-free at the same time. The shaft is 9.75″ and they come in black or brown.
Similar to the style by Refresh, these cool and cute synthetic leather boots by Cambridge Select can be worn with jeans, a skirt, of your favorite leggings. They have side pull tabs for easy on and off and they come in five different colors, including dark brown, light brown, taupe, bone, and black. The stacked heel is 2.5” and the shaft is 9.75”.
If you need some extra pizzazz for your next party and faux leather cowboy boots just aren’t enough, check out these colorful and fun bling boots by Helen’s Heart. They come in purple, red, fuchsia, turquoise, pink, gold, silver, black, brown, and sparkle gray. They’re made of rubber, for all of you vegan cowgirls who live in rainy locales and like to brighten up everyone’s day when you walk by. The shaft measures 13” from the arch and the heel is 3.25”. They have a side zipper for easy on and off.
Here’s a classic pair of western boots that are made with animal-friendly, faux leather. They have round toe and the shaft is 12” from the arch. They have a low 2” heel and rubber soles for easy walking and dancing.
Another classic cowboy boot with traditional top stitching, the Riley Boot by Roper is made with 100% manmade materials. This style comes in brown, red wine, and tan. The shaft measures 13″ from the arch, and the insole is padded for extra comfort.
Sparkly crosses and decorate inlays make these low heeled vegan cowboy boots real attention getters. They come in black or brown. The shaft is 11.5″ from the arch and the heel is 1.5”. They have a padded, flexible insole and a non-marketing outsole.
These super cute cowboy boots by Very Volatile have a 12” shaft, perfect for showing off a little more leg under your cowgirl skirt of with your skinny jeans. The heel is 2” and they have pull up straps for easy on and off. They come in tan stone.
For a truly unique look, check out these adorable cowgirl ankle booties in velvet and faux leather. They come in black, blue, or red wine. They’re 100% synthetic and the shaft measures 12” from the arch. The heels are 2”.
Breckelle’s offers a wide variety of vegan boots, from vegan combat boots to faux leather ankle boots, and more. These faux suede western-style ankle boots come in a wide different colors, from mustard to red to black, tan, and more. Their versatile style with go with countless looks in your wardrobe. The shaft 8” from the arch and the high heel is 3.5”.
These faux suede booties received rave reviews on Amazon and they’ve been super popular on UnGuide. They’re the perfect blend of modern, urban style and subtle western flair, and they come in a variety of colors, including pale pink, rose, black, red, and olive. The shaft is 8” from the arch and the heel measures 3”.
For a comfy vegan ankle boot, you can’t go wrong with these faux suede ankle boots by Carlos Santana. They have two size zips and the shaft hits just above your ankle. The heel is 1”. These comfortable vegan booties come in black, tan, or brown.
Inlayed silver studs give these adorable cowgirl ankle boots extra flair. The shaft is 6.5” and the low heel is 1.5”. They upper is a forest green textile and they’re made with 100% synthetic materials.
Another adorable western-style ankle boot, this pair is made with animal-friendly white textile fabric and pretty embroidered pink flowers. They have a deep notch on each side for easy on and off that’s embellished with a bit of fringe. The shaft is just 4.25” and the stacked heel is 2”.
Alberto Fellini has been making cool synthetic shoes and boots for men for decades. These men’s vegan western style ankle boots have a size zipper for easy on and off. They have classic western style stitching and a cool ankle straps and rings. They come in black and brown.
I’ve been planning to write a post about vegan handbags and purses for a while now because it’s such a fun topic. And truthfully, I got lost a little while doing my research because I found so many great bags. I discovered new, innovative designers who are working with high-quality vegan leather. Plus, new styles from well-established designers, like Stella McCartney and MATT and NAT, who continue to create gorgeous luxury handbags that are always cruelty-free.
I also discovered new materials (to me anyway) that I had not seen used before in handbags, like bamboo. I know, I know, purses have probably been made with bamboo for eons, but I can’t remember ever laying my eyes on one! Other natural materials used to make vegan handbags include hemp, raffia, and even palm leaves.
Plus, there are great affordable vegan bags made with faux leather and faux suede that are surely disrupting the leather handbag market. And of course, no UniGuide post would be complete without some recycled and upcycled options. Yes, Ladies, vegan handbags made from cement bags, tire inner tubes, and boat sails are leaving bags made with animal skin in the Dark Ages where they belong!
LaBante London is a socially conscious handbag brand that donates 10% of their profits to charitable causes. LaBante’s founder, Vanita Badlani Bagri, experienced a pivotal moment in her life when she was in college. She passed a butcher’s shop where animals were kept alive in cages before they would be killed in front of customers and sold for their meat.
Bearing witness to this horror was transformative for Vanita. While she didn’t know at the time that she would eventually become a vegan handbag designer, this experience shaped her world view and the values that she infuses in all of LaBante’s products and operations today.
And not only are LaBante bags vegan, they’re also eco-friendly. The materials used have the look and feel of leather, but they’re actually made with recycled plastic bottles.
Melie Bianco is another PETA Approved, 100% vegan brand. And they produce their socially conscious handbags in ethical, fair trade conditions.
The vegan leather that Melie Bianco uses in their bags is made with polyurethane (PU). PU use fewer solvents and toxic chemicals than PVC (polyvinyl chloride), a type of plastic that’s used to make a cheaper faux leather. In addition, PU uses fewer resources to produce than does leather derived from animals.
In this video, Melie Bianco explains the difference between PU vegan leather and faux leather made from PVC:
Good Mood Moon also makes 100% vegan clutches, purses, and other cute bags. Self-described lovers of animals, nature, and color, they donate 5% of sales from their subtly colorful bags to homeless pet organizations.
MATT & NAT’s name is derived from the words “materials” and “nature.” And these concepts are interwoven in every product they create, from their designer handbags and purses to fashionable shoes and other accessories. Their mission it to help unveil the “humanity, creativity and positivity found in all of us.”
MATT & NAT’s chic designs have been 100% vegan since the company was founded in 1995. They also infuse eco-friendly principles into their designs by using natural, plantbased, and recycled materials. You can see their stylish shoes in my post on vegan shoe brands.
Angela Roi’s love for animals and their passion for fashion inspired them to create their ultra chic, 100% cruelty-free handbags. They believe there’s no reason for fashion to be cruel, and they take these values a step further by supporting animal welfare organizations.
Stella McCartney is a true trailblazer in the fashion world. She was a big name advocating for cruelty-free and eco-friendly fashion back when most big names were still in the Dark Ages, creating designs with animal skin and fur. Stella was an advocate for cruelty-free fashion well before Gucci, Versace, and just recently Chanel went fur-free. (But thank God, other top designers are seeing the light and helping to end animal cruelty in the fashion industry.) Stella is a designer who wears her values and her heart on her sleeves and the world is better for it.
Canopy Verde’s founder, Linda Wong, admits she’s a minimalist who doesn’t like the idea of “owning a lot stuff.” It might seem an odd statement coming from a product designer, but then again, Linda represents the values of other modern-day, progressive product designers who believe in quality over quantity and in minimizing waste.
Linda was inspired to create her own line of eco-friendly and vegan handbags after working in the fashion industry and seeing how much waste is generated season after season. She felt she could do better. And it was her love of mid-century Danish design and the character of her Brooklyn neighborhood that shaped her design aesthetic.
Canopy Verde produces their vegan handbags using methods that minimize waste and reuse materials whenever possible. In addition, they utilize PU vegan leather, which has a lighter carbon footprint than leather derived from animals. The linings of Canopy Verde bags are also eco-friendly: They’re made with GOTS certified organic cotton, which is dyed with Earth-friendly, chemical-free dyes.
Pixie Mood says their top priority is creating beautiful handbags and purses that do not harm any of our furry friends. Their motto is: “There’s always room for fashion with compassion!”
In addition, the Pixie Mood team is committed to environmental sustainability and social causes. They focus on sourcing the most innovative and eco-friendly materials they can find, and they support charitable organizations like PETA and Progress Place Mental Wellness.
Maravillas hand makes their sustainable, vegan handbags in their workshop in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. They do create some styles in traditional leather, so be sure to look for the designs that are made with 100% vegan and sustainable Piñatex Pineapple Leather. Maravillas’ founder, Christina Bussmann, is an advocate for timeless designs and she’s an activist against fast-fashion and its exploitation of people and nature.
Camille Vegan Bags are created in the epicenter of the fashion world in Paris, France. Founders Raphaël and Camille Vial love to promote slow fashion, with a focus on quality and timeless design while still being affordable.
Red Maus designs minimalist and functional shoulder bags, backpacks, and other vegan bags with distressed faux vegan leather that reminds me of classic suede. Visit their Etsy store to see their collection.
If you love the rugged look of suede but not the idea of harming animals, this faux suede laser-cut bag may me just what you’re looking for. It even has a little bit of fringe to give it a cool ’70s retro look.
Straw handbags make great vegan and eco-friendly purses, though it can be hard to find styles that don’t have leather straps. I’ve sent plenty of messages to straw handbag designers urging them to use faux leather in their bags! Fortunately, there are some handbag designers who are making fun, animal-friendly straw bags.
This cute vegan handbag is made with 100% natural and eco-friendly straw, and it has a cotton lining. It’s perfect for a summer purse or a beach tote. This bag makes me want to go on vacation to Greece, the Caribbean, or somewhere equally as sunny and carefree.